Government outlines latest in series of job creation plans
Ministers promise 380 actions this year to create new employment
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton during the launch of the 2014 Action Plan For Jobs in Dublin today. Photograph: PA
The Government has launched a new annual action plan for jobs for 2014, with over 380 specific actions listed to help create new jobs in the economy.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton launched the plan - the third such annual plan - at Wayra, a centre that facilitates new start-ups, on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin this morning.
It came as the Central Statistics Office announced the unemployment rate had fallen to 12 per cent, with an increase of 61,000 jobs in the number of people at work.
Mr Kenny said the figures bolstered his Government’s aim to create 330,000 new jobs in the Irish economy by 2020.
He and Mr Gilmore told the audience at the launch that following the exit of the troika from Ireland, the Government wanted this year to be “year of jobs” in which focus would be unremittingly on creating new employment opportunities.
At the same time, Mr Kenny accepted that some 100,000 of the unemployed were former construction workers and two thirds of people on the dole queues were long-term unemployed. He also pointed to Ireland having one of the highest percentages of households - 20 per cent - where no person was in employment.
The three Ministers had come from a special Cabinet meeting that was focused on the construction sector, a sector that has struggled to recover from being moribund following the crash.
Mr Gilmore said some 7,500 new residential homes were build last year but that 30,000 new families were being formed each year. He said there was potential for growth in this sector.
He and Mr Kenny disclosed that the outcome of this morning’s meeting of Ministers was inconclusive. A sub-group of Ministers, headed by the Taoiseach’s department, has been studying the area and has committed to publishing a plan by St Patrick’s Day.
One area where there have been delays is in State infrastructure projects which have been sanctioned but have not yet started. Mr Kenny said the big projects such as Grangegorman and the National Children’s Hospital were on track but that there was an issue with some public private projects that the Government was working to resolve.
“Exiting the bailout was not an end in itself. We want to use that freedom to effect a sustainable recovery,” he said. “We want to give people a sense of hope about the future of our country...We have a clear plan it’s based on enterprise and innovation and expertise but not on speculation.”
Mr Gilmore said the latest figures were very significnat. “In 2014, we have to drive on with that. We cannot allow the momentum to slack. We have to keep driving to create more more sustainable jobs.”
He instanced trade, tourism, and expanding markets abroad, especially in South East Asia.
Mr Bruton said there was particular emphasis on three distinct areas in the plan. The first was entrepreneurship. He highlighted youth entrepreneurship in particular, and tax measures that would induce more overseas investment and the involvement of more women.
Secondly, he said the success of the IDA and EI in creating 20,000 jobs over the past two years would be consolidated.
He also spoke about the potential for manufacturing, and referred to identifying opportunities where connected enterprises can be set up in close proximity, as happens in the health sector and IT industries.